German immigration law approved- eases access for skilled workers

1st July 2004, Comments 0 comments

1 July 2004, BERLIN - Germany's first ever immigration law - which eases rules to attract skilled workers - was approved by parliament's lower chamber Thursday and is expected to win a final green light next week. The law will regulate immigration to Germany from non-European Union countries and opens the door to highly skilled foreigners in such fields as information and bio technology. It also calls for better efforts to integrate foreigners already in Germany; reforms the rules on granting asylum; and m

1 July 2004

BERLIN - Germany's first ever immigration law - which eases rules to attract skilled workers - was approved by parliament's lower chamber Thursday and is expected to win a final green light next week.

The law will regulate immigration to Germany from non-European Union countries and opens the door to highly skilled foreigners in such fields as information and bio technology.

It also calls for better efforts to integrate foreigners already in Germany; reforms the rules on granting asylum; and makes possible fast-track expulsion of foreigners deemed a security threat.

Interior Otto Schily, who hammered out the compromise bill with opposition conservatives, says the law shows Germany recognises it is an immigration country and will continue to be so.

Up until now only ethnic Germans - and since 1990 Jews from the former Soviet Union - had a general right to settle in Germany as immigrants.

Most of Germany's now almost 2 million Turks came during the 1960s as "guest workers" who were supposed to go home but for the most part never did.

There are currently about 7.3 million foreigners living in Germany out of a total population of 82 million.

Given decreasing German birth rates and an ageing population, all parties agreed on the need for the country to permit immigration, particularly of people needed by the high-tech sectors.

Final approval for the immigration bill is expected on July 9 in parliament's opposition dominated upper house, the Bundesrat. The new law is due to come into force on January 1, 2005.

DPA

Subject: German news

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